Flamingos spotted in Wisconsin for first time in history: ‘this is huge’

Flamin-go wherever the wind blows.

Five of the bright pink tropical birds were spotted Friday frolicing just off the shore in the waters of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin — marking the first time flamingos were ever spotted in the state.

Hordes of birdwatchers flocked to catch a glimpse of the three adults, who had already gotten their pink plumes, and two gray juveniles as they stood just 25 feet from the beach in Port Washington, a city 27 miles north of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

“This is huge,” said Jim Edelhuber of Waukesha, an avid bird watcher and photographer who rushed to view the waterfowl after word of their visit spread on social media.

“This is unbelievable.”

The birds appeared content as Wisconsin enjoyed a nearly 80-degree day on its first day of fall.

The flamingos mostly slept on the banks of the beach after landing in the Badger State early that morning, according to Ryan Brady, a conservation biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Wildlife biologists theorize the birds were pushed into the northern state after they were blown off course from their native Mexico and Cuba by the intense gusts of Hurricane Idalia.

Flamingos stand by the water along a Lake Michigan beach.
Five flamingos appeared on the banks of Lake Michigan in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

Dozens of flamingos appeared in unusual places across the country in the wake of the storm — including Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Wild flamingos were also spotted swimming in the waters of Florida for the first time in a century.

The birds used to call the Sunshine State home until they were hunted to near-extinction in the early 19th century when fashion trends pivoted toward the popularity of feathers.

Flamingos stand by the water along a Lake Michigan beach.
The visit marks the first recorded time the waterfowl were ever spotted in the state.

Flamingos stand by the water along a Lake Michigan beach
Three of the birds were pink adults and the other two were gray juveniles.

The rare flamingos that call Florida their permanent home only make up a mere 1% of the global flamingo population and live in semi-domesticated environments, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

“I’ve only ever seen (flamingos) on our trips to Aruba,” said Debbie Gasper of Port Washington, who made the short trip to the lakefront with her husband Mark.

“I’m going to have to send photos of this or our relatives in Georgia aren’t going to believe it.”

Media and beach goers watch flamingos along a Lake Michigan beach.
Hordes of birdwatchers arrived to witness the historic sight.

Flamingos are not the “first” celebrity bird to make a historic visit to Wisconsin this year, however.

The flame-colored tanager — a tropical bright orange bird — was spotted in the state in nearby Cudahy in May.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.